Sent: Thursday, October 03, 1998 1:13 PM
Subject: very cute web page


I was amused to locate your page under a search of Penn Yann. Pete and I are putting a new engine in the Mooney 205 and were considering buying a zero time Lycoming versus the Penn Yann with Superior Cylinders. Although the Mooney's engine is a slightly different beast than the Tiger (remember we owned one?) I was wondering what your experience was with Penn Yann, price, time delay, expectations/results etc. Could you let me know? It would be greatly appreciated.

Hope to here from you soon, as we are going to be making a decision by the week's end (the engine's cam is spent with 1300 hours).

Rick & Pete

Hi, Rick (and Pete!)

I am *VERY* happy with my Penn Yann engine. I would *strongly* recommend a Penn Yann overhaul over a factory engine. ‘Nuf said? Let me give you my reasons.

In December 1996 I brought the Tiger in for the annual. At the time it had about 1780 hours on it over 11 years. I was fairly happy with it, but oil analysis was becoming troublesome and the compressions were dropping, and I couldn’t quite make the book numbers on speed and fuel consumption. I was trying to keep it going for another year or two, but I was in the planning and research for an engine. I was considering: doing it myself (with IA supervision, of course), "local" rebuilders (Penn Yann and Mattituck), "high-line" rebuilders (Victor and LyCon), and a factory overhaul. Because of the expense (and, in my opinion, a lack of value), I was not considering a zero-time factory engine.

Well, during that annual I found one cylinder with compression too low to accept. We planned to pull that cylinder and have Mattituck overhaul it, then keep the engine going for a year or so more. Unfortunately, when I got the cylinder (#3) off and stuck a flashlight in there, I found the camshaft was pretty spalled up. I had to overhaul.

Thus began the full-court-press research. After calling AOPA and (very quickly and smoothly, thank goodness) arranging financing, I got quotes from all the above. When all was said and done, Penn Yann had offered me the best price, with the most overhauled and new accessories, with the best warranty. I asked around the airports in the area and got good replies regarding their service, although the biggest number of aircraft (at least in CT/RI) seemed to be Mattituck customers. I briefly considered Mattituck, but I had come across 2 folk that had work done there and had nothing nice to say, plus Mattituck offered a little less work for a little less warranty.

At the time I was ABSOLUTLEY going to buy Superior cylinders. Penn Yann said they would do them for only $1200 more. However, the guys there actually talked me out of them. I don’t recall exactly what the verbal exchange was, but it must have been pretty good to convince me; at the time there was no way in hell that I was going to use factory cylinders. Anyway, I ended up buying their overhauled cylinders (guaranteed first-run overhauls) instead of Superiors.

Another big selling point for me was that they included all overhauled accessories: magnetos, alternator, starter, carburetor, a new fuel pump and a new ignition wiring harness. Somewhere I recall Mattituck not including all of this.

Well, I ripped the thing off the airframe and sent it to Penn Yann; they provided a truck to ship it both ways from here in CT. All we had to do was call them. They promised to overhaul the entire thing in 4 weeks, and quoted $10,500.

2 weeks later I had a call from the IA; the engine was ready to be shipped. What a deal!

Even better, they REALLY took care of me. It turns out that both my main crankcase and accessory cases were cracked and needed replacement. These must be high buck items! However, Penn Yann provided to me FACTORY NEW parts and no additional cost! Man, if I’d had buy those, I’d have been screwed. Of course, all AD’s and SB’s were complied with.

These guys did SUPER work and made me happy. Hell, I hadn’t even started the damn thing yet and I was singing their praises!

Since the overhaul, I’ve run it 225 hours, including some long cross-country trips (Chicago, Charlotte, Florida, Texas, Canada) and I am extremely pleased. The engine runs strong (faster than book numbers), smooth (buddies say it’s the smoothest Tiger they’ve flown) and so far it burns a quart of oil every 12-14 hours; just right. We did a compression check last week and all cylinders are in the high-70’s (out of 80).

The only problem I’ve had with the engine came this month: coming back from Chicago I noticed redline oil temperatures and a slightly rough-running engine. I couldn’t lean it out to peak EGT without getting too rough and my fuel flow was about 1 gph too high. Since the oil pressure was still very good and since there were no high-volatility smells and smoke when I landed to check it out, I surmised (correctly, it turned out) that the oil temp prob was a gauge problem. However, I dropped it off to have the rough running and fuel consumption problem checked out.

Got a call from the IA last week: the carb needs to be looked at. Penn Yann’s written warranty for accessories is one year from installation; for me that would have been last January. However, guess what? Penn Yann agreed to take in the carb, check it out and/or overhaul it, and no charge. Now, THAT’S service and support.

So, given my experience, I can strongly recommend them.

I have a friend with a Cheetah (Lycoming O-320-E2x) and he had an engine done by Mattituck 2 months ago. I haven’t spoken to him recently, but it took him over 2 months to get his engine back and it was over the original dollar estimate.

Keep in mind that the factory "zero-time" overhaul is not going to be any "better" than an overhauler’s. However, because the same work was done by the factory rather than a field overhauler, the factory can "zero-time" it. Caveat: many that I’ve spoken to have thought that their "factory" overhaul were not really done as carefully as they could have been, nor were they of superior quality to field overhauls.

Also, keep in mind that the factory does not keep tabs on your parts; they simply disassemble your engine and add it to a big pile of parts to overhaul. You have no idea of the history of the parts with a factory zero-time engine. You could, theoretically, have overhauled cylinders that had over 3000 hours on them on a bush airplane in Alaska. The factory simply overhauls them to spec, and the engine builders pull from a pile of parts and re-uses them.

Conversely, Penn Yann gives you back your own parts (except those replaced) and the cylinders they give you (if you choose to not use Superiors) are guaranteed "first-run", meaning they’ve only gone through one overhaul ccycle. Many folks say these are the best cylinders to use, as they’ve been through a full series of heat stresses and are the least likely to crack in the future. Of course, Penn Yann overhauls them to spec using .010" overbore and barrel nitriding – no chroming -- and heat treats them to spec.

This is a very good URL regarding Lycoming engines, cylinders, and exhaust valve guide wear. A must-read.

I’d strongly recommend a few upgrades during the overhaul: A new Sky-Tec starter (LOVE this starter. I can’t imagine why I didn’t do it sooner), GAMI injectors, and maybe even a Unison/LASAR ignition system (my next new toy to be installed). If you don’t already have it, I’d also recommend a good graphical engine analyzer (I like the EDM-700 series) and a fuel totalizer (EDMs are available with fuel flow option, EI’s FP5-L if you want it separate).

While you have the engine off the airframe, consider having your engine mount frame overhauled (mine had a crack), definitely replace the engine mount isolators and all fluid hoses, and of course overhaul the prop. Now would also be a good time to clean up the firewall and make it look pretty and replace any wiring that’s brittle or worn. Do it right the first time; you’ll hate paying them to go in there again too soon.

Give me a ring if you have any questions; I’ll be glad to help out. Where do you plan to have it removed and replaced? The guys in Simsbury (860-651-6615) that I work with are honest, *very* dependable, and hourly rates are about $40. Plus, they enjoy their work!

Greg Amy